Miami Vice: Series 5 [DVD]
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All 21 episodes from the fifth season of the 1980s detective show set against the seamy and steamy Miami underworld of criminals, drug dealers and lowlifes, created by Michael Mann and starring Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as slick detectives Sonny Crocket and Rico Tubbs. In this season, ordered to take time off, Crockett's vacation is cut short when he is kidnapped by three homicidal prison escapees. Episodes comprise: 'Hostile Takeover', 'Redemption In Blood', 'Heart Of Night', 'Bad Timing', 'Borrasca', 'Line Of Fire', 'Asian Cut', 'Hard Knocks', 'Fruit Of The Poison Tree', 'To Have and To Hold', 'Miami Squeeze', 'Jack Of All Trades', 'The Cell Within', 'The Lost Madonna', 'Over The Line', 'Victims Of Circumstance', 'Freefall', 'World Of Trouble', 'Miracle Man', 'Leap Of Faith' and 'Too Much, Too Late'.
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Season 5 starts with a continuation of the 'Burnett' arc of episodes, where Crockett believes he has become his alter ego, Burnett. Whilst possibly a bit of an outlandish concept, it is implemented very well with the exception of a few bizarre characters that really haven't stood the test of time well. Both episodes are jam packed with action and entertainment. These episodes are followed up by a fairly decent run of episodes including, Heart of Night and Borrasca which focus on Castillo, Line of Fire, Hard Knocks and a personal favourite of mine, Fruit of the Poison Tree. Later in the season, The Lost Madonna, Over the Line and World of Trouble all join a pack of very decent episodes. The finale "Freefall", whilst not perfect, is a very worthy attempt to close the Miami Vice saga. Once again, it's jam packed with action and entertainment.
One of the key changes for Season 5 was the overall mood, music and feel of the series. The story-lines were very much darker but arguably more realistic compared to previous seasons. Jan Hammer had departed from composing the soundtrack and was replaced by Tim Truman, who had a very heavy dependence upon electric guitars for his scores. Whilst earlier in the season it was clear Truman was finding his feat (the amount of electric guitars used in Bad Timing was way over the top), he eventually became a very accomplished replacement for Hammer.
Finally, it has to be worth mentioning that like season 3 and season 4, Miami Vice season 5 also contains some pretty awful episodes. The Cell Within, Miracle Man and Leap of Faith are all diabolical for various reasons and should just be ignored. However, I think the overall feel of quality in season 5, up until the last 3rd, is much more consistent than season 4.
Overall, season 5 is quite different from earlier seasons of Miami Vice. Long gone are the corny scenes involving Izzy, the bright coloured fashion and synth pop music. In fact, I would go as far as to say that season 5 of Miami Vice stands the test of time much better than many of the other seasons. It still isn't as good as the glory days of Season 2, but it is a fitting end to what is arguably the best and only worthwhile TV show from the 1980's.
Don johnson is missing for 50% of the episodes in this season, which doesnt help; he was trying to further his film career at the time. More importantly, however, is that everyone seems to be knackered and bereft of inspiration. The scripts are flat, boring, and uninspired rehashes of old stuff. The actors seem to want to leave as soon as possible- with the exception of PM Thomas, as already mentioned- to perhaps do ANYTHING else, and when Don Johnson returns, both to resolve and regain his crockett character, he's now decked out in leather jackets and levis, which is out of character for a charcter who is supposed to be "in character"! (that's almost a tongue twister).
The finale comes as a welcome relief, and is a 90 plus minute fest of explosions, cross border corruption, and the boys throwing their badges in. Be mindful that it isnt the last episode on the set, but is a few episodes prior to it. Why universal didnt correct the running order from the original scheduling , which itself was the result of the producers not knowing wether the show would be canned mid season, is a mystery which is inexplicable.
In effect, the last season is one for the completists and die hard fans only, cause the overall quality is laughably poor. Think VERY HARD before you shell out.
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Can't actually comment yet on the DVDs because I haven't had the time to watch any of them,
So watch this space.....